For those who may not know, Gwen Stacy is the beautiful and brilliant first love of Peter Parker, a.k.a. the Amazing Spider-Man. Since she first tried to get Peter’s attention in college, to her tragic demise later in the Amazing Spider-Man series, Gwen has always been a fashionable woman. Prolific Marvel colourist Stan Goldberg, who worked with multiple Amazing Spider-Man illustrators, notably Steve Ditko and John Romita, often gave Gwen’s outfits vibrant colors and eye-catching tones. Gwen does seem to have a favorite color that stands out in the early comics: red.
It has been theorized through multiple studies that when a woman wears red, it is a “signal” that she is looking to attract a mate. The questionable studies are set on a behavioral precedent in primates called mandrills and may be nothing more than a cultural phenomenon. Red lipstick, the red dress in the popular 1990s film The Matrix, or just the connotation of Valentine’s Day and the color red as a romantic hue, are signs that red does evoke a response. Gwen Stacy wants Peter to respond. Early on, she has no idea that Peter is Spider-Man, and he seems distant from her. Though Gwen doesn’t know that Peter often dons a bright red and blue uniform in secret, she wears chic and bright outfits whenever she’s thinking of him. Let’s look at some of her stylish highlights!
In one of Gwen’s earliest appearances, before she and Peter ever dated, she wears a sleek red dress with a leopard collar to school. In Amazing Spider-Man #34, she’s after the man she considers a challenge, even when he’s trying to rush out the door. But the red dress and cute hair clips aren’t distracting enough: Peter’s got bigger challenges on his mind.
It’s said by some Spider-Man fans that early Gwen Stacy was a boring character and that she wasn’t good enough for Peter because they were too devoted. Even Gerry Conway, the man who killed her character off while Stan Lee was away on vacation, said Gwen was nothing more than a pretty face. Personally, I think she’s just a stylish woman who loves her guy. In Amazing Spider-Man #47, Gwen is on the dance floor in a form fitting yellow, orange, and red dress that makes her look like a flower. Gwen’s fishnet stockings are another favorite she can’t live without.
Gwen’s gone full cute suit in John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man #66. The geometric square twist pattern on a red jacket and matching skirt, with a green turtleneck, is a fall outfit a lot of folks would wear. The headband is the perfect hair accessory, and her boots almost match her platinum hair tone for tone. Gwen’s autumn ensemble is a flawless date choice. Note: Peter calling her Gwendy is adorable.
Let’s go back to Amazing Spider-Man #36 and take a look at another comfortable and attractive seasonal garb. Here she is again with the hair clips, which make total sense. You can’t read a textbook with hair in your eyes. There’s red again, that irresistible color that brings the boys to the yard, boys she’s not interested in when Peter Parker awaits. The earthy brown skirt that hugs her curves as she strolls through the halls is a great tone choice.
The black headband and fishnet stocking appear again in Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #2. This time, Gwen’s chosen a plain red dress ornamented with a gold chain belt with a red purse and red low heels to match. The black and white zebra jacket with three-quarter sleeves will keep her warm while she and Peter make their way to their date destination. As the elated Mr. Parker says here, she really does look like a walking centerfold.
Another suit! Yet Gwen Stacy can’t leave the color red out of her outfit, even when she’s a continent away from Peter Parker. The comfortable blue suit jacket has pockets and big sleeves, along with a matching skirt. Gwen’s black flats match her favorite black headband. The necklace over the red turtleneck and the gold bangles on her wrists complete her London outfit. It’s the perfect blend of garments for Gwen’s contemplative mood in the moment, and matches her anxious meditations on her relationship. All the while, this lady’s still a fashion icon.
Last but not least, Gwen Stacy’s checkered red and black party dress is another shapely smash. Though Peter is with Mary Jane in this scene, he muses about Gwen. Her dress and dancing is distracting, even for Mary Jane. Spider-Man’s date that night can’t admit that Gwen is a great dancer, an amusing twist in the panel. Gwen dresses in a chic and sexy way that comes off as classy, too. Her outfits are most certainly part of her charm, along with her love of Peter, dates, and dancing. Thanks to Steve Ditko, Stan Goldberg, and John Romita for giving us an adorable and fashionable Gwen Stacy.